At least 39 people died in flooding on Tuesday in Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of Democratic Republic of Congo, following torrential rains overnight, authorities said. The heavy rain caused landslides near the University of Kinshasa, they said.

A witness at the scene said at least three houses had fallen into a ravine and a recently paved road had also collapsed. Chunks of concrete and metal roofing could be seen sticking out of the freshly turned orange earth.

The vice governor of Kinshasa province, Neron Mbungu, said rescue workers were continuing to hunt for bodies.

“Wherever we found death, we gave the mayors the means to bring the bodies to the morgue, and we also made available the means for the wounded to be taken to medical centers,” he said. Floods are not unusual in Kinshasa, a city of almost 12million people with notoriously poor infrastructure and where many neighbourhoods are poorly planned, though they rarely causes many deaths.

University Avenue was completely swept into a ravine along with at least three houses.